Duke University to condense fall class schedule, expect students to stay in Durham during semester

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Duke University on Tuesday announced its plans for the fall semester. The plan includes condensing the schedule and an expectation that students living on and off-campus remain in the Durham area during the semester.

“A team of Duke medical and public health experts has been involved in developing the new plans. At its core is the belief that the greatest protection can come from several changes in behavior – particularly physical distancing and wearing a face covering in public spaces – and a strong, personal commitment from the Duke community to follow these practices,” the Duke Today post said.

The main component of the semester plan is to begin classes on Aug. 17, end exams before Thanksgiving, and get rid of the fall break.

Other changes, per Duke Today, include:

  • Classes taking place in one of four formats. Face-to-face with modified classroom configurations; online with regular, live meeting times; a hybrid of face-to-face with “significant online components;” and online with lectures recorded for on-demand viewing with discussion and lab work also online.
  • First-year students will be assigned to both East and West Campuses in dedicated spaces. Returning students in university housing will be assigned to West Campus and to designated spaces in nearby hotels and apartments.
  • All undergraduate students living on campus or in Durham will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival before they’re permitted to begin classes or move into residence halls. Students who test positive will be quarantined on campus. Contact tracing will be used to identify other possible positive cases.
  • All members of the Duke community who come on campus must complete daily symptom monitoring, wear face coverings in classroom and public settings, and must practice physical distancing.
  • Students living on-campus or off-campus housing are expected to stay in the Durham area during the semester.
  • Student-athletes will begin a phased return to campus on July 12. They must follow additional health and hygiene protocols that have been developed by Duke and national medical experts.

“There are tremendous challenges ahead, and there are also tremendous opportunities to rethink higher education for a new era, to ensure that our university is responsive to the needs of a changing world, to redouble our efforts to address racism and systemic injustice, and to find ways to better serve our students, faculty, staff, neighbors, and visitors,” Duke President Vincent Price said in the post.

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